Thursday, February 16, 2006
What is Single's Ministry?
I recently attended the National Catholic Singles Conference in Denver, Colorado. I came away with a powerful message from Dave Sloan and Jennifer Kilfin about what singles ministry needs to be in the Catholic Church.
I've been involved with Catholic Young Adults groups for awhile, and what is evident is that most of these groups are social clubs for people that are "culturally Catholic". There is a mix of those who are striving to be truly faithful and those who are not.
A group I recently left has become so much of a social club that their routine activities include Pub Crawls, Party Weekends in Austin, and even attending Mardi Gras in Galveston (no word on when the Catholic Girls Gone Wild video will be available). I'm sure the next big event will be a spring break trip to South Padre to watch the wet t-shirt and bikini contests.
These activities are brazenly and scandalously posted on the parish website, where I was rebuked for posting the Holy See's Instruction on the Respect for Human Life, and a diocesan pro-life activity. Ultimately I was forced from the leadership committee of the group due to my defense of orthodoxy and the unborn.
Is this what Christ is calling us to do under the guise of ministry?
Many of these groups do offer spiritual activities, however they seem to be relegated to a lesser status.
What should be the objective of Singles Ministry? According to the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston Young Adult & Campus Ministry office and based on the USCCB guidelines we are called to be Sons and Daughters of the Light with these fourfold objectives.
To connect young adults with:
- Jesus Christ
- the Church, by inviting and welcoming their presence in the Christian community
- the mission of the Church in the world
- a peer community in which their faith is nurtured and strengthened
The answer according to Dave and Jen, is to bring singles into the family of the Church, to provide an opportunity to discern for a vocation to religious or married life, to assist them in maintaining their call to celibacy, and to grow in faith. How can this be accomplished? Not in secular social activities or sterile religious discussions, but in the context of a family. Jennifer hosts a weekly study group in her home with prayer, a potluck supper, and discussion of Church teachings. This happens on the Friday night that some feel is a sacrosanct day when all singles are supposed to be out at the bars trying to meet their next serial monogamy partner. In reality most singles are at home with their dog according to Mary Beth Bonacci.
I feel a strong call to bring this type of family group to my life and the young adults around me. I've started talking with a few faithful Catholic friends and we're planning a Lenten series on A Voice from Calvary by Abp. Fulton Sheen. It will be every Saturday starting March 4, 2006. We hope to continue the group after Easter with A Catholic Catechism by Abp. Sheen or The Teachings of Jesus Christ by Fr. John Corapi. If you're interested in joining us please send me an email. More information will be available next week.
Peace Be To You,
My home parish's young adult group has gone through a few changes. We started out with both social activities dedicated to fun and spirituality nights dedicated to learning about the faith and devotionals.
Curiously, the social activities have been mostly supplanted by the "educational" nights. We had a group of LifeTeen-graduates take over leadership from our founder, and they have actually handled things very well.
We're trying to figure out how to launch more social events, but we are more hindered by our own parish bureaucracy rather than any heterodoxy or libertinism, despite being at one of the most "flaky" parishes in the Archdiocese of Denver.
Best of luck to you!
Both him and I will be launching a new Young Adult/Singles ministry soon and we look forward to creating more spiritual opportunities for Houston young adults and/or singles in the future.
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